Thursday, March 10, 2022

Government removes quota on import of betel nuts, peas, peppercorns and dates

Though, it has been restricting the imports to ease the pressure on the foreign currency (forex) reserve, the government today removed the quantitative restriction on import of betel nuts, peas, peppercorns and dates.

Publishing a notice in the Nepal Gazette today, the government has removed the quota restriction for the factories, if these goods are to be used as raw materials by the factories concerned. According to the provision, the Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection will be providing import licenses to the firms on the recommendation of the Department of Industry (DoI).

The depleting forex reserve has recently forced the government to take strong measure to restrict the import of various luxury items including automobiles and gold. However, the government has turned flexible to the import of high-priced goods, when the country is reeling under a critical forex shortage.

The domestic demand has been fulfilled by the domestic production, the farmers claimed, adding that the government move to ease the restriction has surprised them. They also suspected ‘red-tape’ in removing the quantitative restriction of the  betel nuts, peas, peppercorns and dates.

“Taking advantage of the provision of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement, many Nepali traders are found importing the goods from third countries to resell them in the Indian market,” the farmers said. As the SAFTA has a zero tariff provision on goods exported from underdeveloped countries like Nepal, Nepali traders have been importing these goods from third countries paying minimum tariffs and then ‘exporting’ as the finished product to India with zero tariffs. The government had, thus, put the quantitative restriction on import of these goods.

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